Posted on: 30 June 2015
If you plant a beautiful flower garden on your property every year, then you likely also spend your time weeding as well. It is generally unwise to use chemicals to try to kill and prevent new weeds, because certain substances can kill the flowers too. It is a much better idea to prevent the weeds from forming in the first place, so you do not need to spend any time pulling or otherwise dealing with the offending plants. If you want to know how to successfully prevent weed growth, then keep reading.
Do Not Disturb the Soil
Many gardeners will use power tillers or hand tools to aerate or dig up the soil before they plant flowers. This is a good tactic to loosen the soil so that nutrients and water can both move through the earth to feed plants. Unfortunately, tilling also frees up weed seeds that have been sitting in the ground. These seeds sit dormant in the soil until the sun shines on them and germination begins. Some seeds can sit for several years, while others can actually remain in the earth for decades. Since weed plants will sometimes release hundreds of seeds in a single season, this can translate into thousands of dormant seeds just waiting for you to dig up the earth.
To prevent the weeds from growing, make sure to leave the soil alone where you intend on placing your flowers. Instead, build up the flower bed with your mulch or topsoil so it sits several inches high. This will keep the weed seeds in the earth underneath your flowers.
Blocking the Sun
If you are creating a new flower garden or if the soil is hard or eroded, then you may need to till the ground before planting, and this will expose the weed seeds. You can still keep them from growing by stopping the sun from reaching the seeds. A material placed over the soil can help with this, but you need to find a one that will feed the earth and decompose as your flowers start to take over and grow. Newspapers are a perfect solution, so wet a few pieces and spread them out across the garden. Make sure all of the exposed earth is covered and then add your topsoil or mulch.
If you live in an area with more aggressive types of weeds, then think about spreading old carpeting instead of paper. Just make sure the carpet is made out of organic wool or cotton materials to ensure good decomposition.
Plant the Right Way
If you want a luxurious flower garden, then you may decide to leave about one foot of space between each flower to make sure they have enough room to grow. It is generally a good idea to give each of your flowers an ample amount of space, because the roots will compete for the available resources in the area. As the roots spread to absorb water and nitrogen, one plant is likely to overpower the other. This can leave one plant thriving while the other one dies off. Both flowers may also remain small. However, if you secure your plants in the ground too far away from one another, then this leaves available nutrients and space for weeds to grow in between the flowers.
There is no set measurement to space out flowers. Instead, consider the adult height of each flowering plant. Divide the height by 2 and use this measurement to space the flowers. For example, if your flowers grow about 12 inches high, then each plant should be separated by about six inches of soil. In general, plants like salvias, snapdragons, zinnias, marigolds, and pansies can be placed about six inches apart from one another. Taller plants like African daisies, asters, coleus, and petunias should be secured about a foot apart. Read seed packets or flower inserts to find the approximate height for the flowers you are growing.
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